Inkblots: Japan and the Challenge of Bushism
|ISGI Seminar No. 28|
Oct 27, 2004
from 03:00 PM to 05:00 PM
|Where||Sano Shoin, Hitotsubashi University, Kunitachi Campus|
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Please note new date, time and venue!
(Postponed from 20 October due to typhoon no.23)
The inkblot strategy is a classic strategy in insurgent warfare. Guerillas take over various cities and use them as bases to expand their operations, eventually extending their control across the country. That is happening now in Iraq, as big cities and the countryside come under the control of various insurgents. But we can also use the inkblot as a metaphor for the results of Bushism on the foreign policy, economic, environmental, nuclear proliferation and other fronts as well. Collectively, we confront the dark scenario of Bushism's inkblots running together.
Yet the Japanese government is keen on a Republican win in the US Presidential and congressional elections on November 2. The rest of the industrialized world, including No 10 in the UK, is more or less openly praying that George Bush and the neocons be turned out of office. Japan's conservative political class is thus strikingly out of step with the international community, its own postwar emphasis on the UN, and its own public. Two important factors that underpin this disturbing scene are that many Japanese policymakers still think that Bush's America is the "international community" and that close cooperation with it will guarantee Japan's national security at an insignificant cost to Japan. This talk argues that these convictions are incorrect. Japanese actors' dichotomous way of seeing the world impairs their ability to recognize just how radical Bushism is and how far from the mainstream it has dragged them. Neither have the Japanese authorities realistically assessed the costs and benefits of allying themselves so closely to the Bush regime, especially as the latter's Iraq fiasco deepens, nuclear proliferation and the threats of nuclear terror worsen, and the global economy gives every indication of falling into a serious crisis. As I describe in detail, there are plenty of real ways for Japan to contribute to the international community rather than simply take a bit part in the Bush regime's unfolding blend of black farce and bloody tragedy.
Andrew Dewit works at Rikkyo University in Tokyo.